With the holidays quickly approaching, the Fort Bragg community steps in to lend a helping hand to Families in need of holiday financial assistance.

The annual Installation Chaplain’s Holiday Food Program is funded through Operation Helping Hand by chapel tithes and offerings collected during worship services in the Fort Bragg community. This year alone, the program raised $60,000 to support Soldiers, Airmen, and their Families during the holiday season from Nov. 25 to Jan. 6 throughout major support commands at Fort Bragg.

“We distribute cards to the chaplains who in turn provide to their troops,” said Chaplain (Col.) Ran Dolinger, Fort Bragg Garrison chaplain. “We want to ensure all Fort Bragg Soldiers have a blessed holiday season.”

The number of gift cards per MSC is determined after compiling the numbers of young Soldiers and Airmen, usually E-1 through E-4, and the possibility of need for financial holiday assistance. The gift cards are given to those chaplains assigned to the units for distribution to those who may be experiencing these difficulties.

Staff Sgt. Charles Brewer, funds manager, garrison chaplain was a recipient of this assistance as a young Soldier years ago.

“What I like to tell young Soldiers who come to my office to get help through Operation Helping Hand is to think of it this way — you’re receiving assistance today, and now you know there are organizations in the Army that are designed to help Families when they’re in need. Don’t be embarrassed and feel like you don’t deserve it,” said Brewer.

The message here is that the Fort Bragg community takes care of their brothers and sisters in arms, especially during the holidays.

“It is the community helping the community. It’s the community coming together and saying, ‘this is what we want to do,’” said Dolinger. “We’re just the instruments helping them accomplish what they want to do. It shows that people care about the Soldiers, and that’s what I like about it.”